Thursday, June 11, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's- Twofer

My aunt and cousin from Oregon were visiting for the past couple of days. My aunt Dorothy was married to Dad's brother, but was also a very good friend of Mom's from school. Three high school friends married three brothers. So there is a connection on both sides. It was really nice to have them here. I was able to take a shower without worrying!

They left yesterday late afternoon. Today, as Mom and I were walking the driveway, Mom said Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy in her usual sing song voice. My jaw dropped.

If anybody tries to use the "She doesn't know me/won't remember my visit anyway" as an excuse not to visit, I will tell them Bull@#$%! and recount this story. I've never believed that anyway, but now I have proof.


rilera said...

There's more of them 'in there' than most believe. You and I know that for a fact.

I'm so glad you had a nice visit and most of all I'm glad that the visit had an obvious impact on your mom.

colleenmc said...

Beautiful art. Visitors, I agree totally. With my mom, immediately after she may have forgotten someone was there but then a day later she will ask where they are. People love their excuses.

Cindy said...

I notice a bit of asymmetry in your Mom's art this time. Love it. As for the visit? Of course, your Mom remembers. She has lost the language to communicate what she remembers and has forgotten. She's not stupid. That infuriates me.

bulletholes said...

I don't know if you've ever read my story, its way long and overwritten but a part of it speaks to this.
My dad took a long time to recognise me on 2nd visit to a VA Hospital that was a long way from home for me.
He had early onset, and the disease progressed really rapidly.
Yet 5 years after that 2nd visit, I took my new wife down to see him.
The expectation was that he would be confused and might not even recognise me...
What he did was to weelcome his new daughter into the family with about as much grace and aplomb as Any F'n Vanderbilt would.
It was amazing.
We finally brought him to a nursing home close by where we could visit him each day.

Anyway, you never know what you might get...but if you don't won't get nuthin.

This is Part 5....

Anonymous said...

Orange seems to be the theme here.

Yay for Dorothy. I'm sure this story will be a thrill to her heart.

~Amanda (gr8aunt)

~minta~ said...

=) been thinking of you lately..... glad to hear the visit went well.

luv the twofer lol

amyinbc said...


Not sure about her but as I have aged my long term memory is the sharpest. Ask me what happened last Tuesday and I will have to really think about it. I am 43.

Forget-Me-Not And Bleeding-Heart said...

That is heartwarming (and a relief to know you had respite because of the visit). I guess your Mum had some too ;-P and found it pleasant. I sometimes wonder if my Mum is fed up of seeing me day in, day out Kind visits are a plus. Have a lovely weekend.

Kathy NC said...

My name is Kathy and I am 39. I am the full time caregiver to my Dad who has Alzheimer's and lives with me.

In addition to caring for Dad, I have a full time job, 3 dogs, my love of 12 years David and his 14 year old daughter. I get overwhelmed a lot but try to find the humor if I can.

I am writing a blog which shows the lighter side of caring for someone with dementia.

Please pass this link along to anyone you feel would enjoy it.


josephine terese said...

i love the second piece especially. the bottom cap looks as though it is holding up the other one, but also like it is in front of it.. anyway, i like the play on dimension.

thanks for telling that story. i really should try to be a better granddaughter.

Anonymous said...

Ann, I heard about the story of your mom singing Dorothy's name after she left directly your home from Dorothy this afternoon in Wabasha. We laughed and cried. I'm so happy that she told me you had a blog where I could find out how things are going, and I'd love to visit and see you both (perhaps give you a few hours respite?). Cousin Carol (

Yasmin said...

I too looked after my Mum when she had Dementia,and I empathise completely with you when you said that it was great having people around so that you could have a shower in peace. My Mom used to follow me around the house, so I could never get away. I remember locking myself in the bathroom one day and just crying to myself - just wanting some "me time" and yes people used to say, oh she won't remember, so whats the point of visiting.......good on you for your dedicated work with your mother. Sadly mine passed away last July.....continue the good work. Cheers, Yazzie

ccrose said...

I am so happy to find your postings and photos of your mom's artwork. Yes, I do think of them as the language of art through the filter of Alzheimer's. I work with folks who are in the middle to late middle stages of dementia in a day program. I've put such stock in the strong value of art experiences for the folks because it is a language as eloquent as the spoken language. There is such care and deliberate thought in your mom's work. Color, too,is carefully chosen. I would love to follow your blog, the photos and, if you or others are interested, share some of the art our folks are doing.
Thank you for the loving attention you are giving to her work and, obviously, to her.